209 posts • joined 7 Jul 2009
When did Uber become the establishment?
What is interesting (to me at any rate) is that what I have seen is that Uber is the upstart being "attacked' by the entrenched powers that be (various city transport agencies - egged on by their existing taxi unions no doubt). As such, are they the target of paid-for dirt-digging themselves?
While this (possibly drunk) exec should be disciplined/dumped and the preciousness of this guy Wolff is just priceless, I wonder how altruistic the journos digging into Uber are themselves....
... for a very clear overview of the problem. I particularly like how you have emphasized the way the argument has morphed - even among the commentards here there is no agreement on what "net neutrality" actually means and now that we have lawmakers involved, I shudder to think how the vested interests will drive the argument. The best we can hope for is a legislative inertia big enough to outlast governments of whatever stripe.
What we have on the - mostly - unregulated internet seems to me like democracy: the worst form of government - except for all of the alternatives. Yes we complain, yes we are grumpy, but we get access to things we never imagined possible at speeds which were science fiction just a few years ago.
My handle here is my CompuServe ID. I first signed up 25 years ago when I bought a 2400 bps modem and moved to Australia. My cable connection now regularly delivers 80-100 Mbps. Does that mean that I never get interruptions in streaming video or slow downloads? No, of course not, but the fact that I can host a web conference with multiple clients across two continents from my home is an incredible level of progress that should not be under-estimated.
In the interests of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I think we should all just settle down here and think whether anything really is so broken that we want to let government regulators in here with their "fix".
There have been a number of reports recently (from development charities I think) which have pointed out that "fairtrade" plantations have not resulted in improved working conditions for workers as they have prevented investments in increased productivity. [I use "fairtrade" loosely as there are a plethora of different standards groups out there plonking their labels on stuff (for a fee) after imposing rules on producers.]
What is not in dispute is that "fairtrade" type labels are still only on a minority of products on the shelves, but at the same time there has been a noted attention paid to workers rights/conditions by many of the larger suppliers (think big coffee and chocolate suppliers) so the industry has taken some of the demand on-board even if they have not bought in to any of the labelling initiatives. Whether this is ethical considerations, marketing or simply because of increased sophistication of production systems requiring better skilled/educated (and therefore better paid) employees is a matter for further discussion. I think this is what Tim is detailing here - major producers will focus on these things even if they are not forced into it as at some stage it costs more to employ "slaves".
Thinkpads still quality kit
On my third Thinkpad since Lenovo bought them from Big Blue and I have to say that it is still good quality kit for business travel. I was worried that they would drop this line (or lose the business focus), but so far it is fine. They have just changed their docking connector so I needed a new station with the last one, but as long as they don't do this again for another couple of model upgrades I can't really complain.
One of the problems with mobile artillery is the amount of ammunition they can carry. I don't remember the numbers exactly, but I though that the MBTs these days only have room for about 20 shells. For anti-missile defenses, you have to weight up how many defensive munitions you will pack and when this takes away from offensive capability.
The advantage of a rail gun is the increased number of projectiles you can carry, balanced against the weight of the power supply. I don't know where this equation comes out, but it is worth while at least doing the maths.
If I was in a metal can I think I would be happier with non-explosive munitions as well!
Re: Natural Ebola remedies
Sadly, the market in fake - and dangerous - ebola "cures" is already going strong. WHO has had to distribute information on how to treat people who are swallowing bleach (hypochlorite) after being told that this will cure ebola. We live in sad times when such fear campaigns have to be addressed and take valuable resources away from the more important items.
But it is not HP vs Autonomy that is driving this. It is HP shareholders complaining that they lost money through HP's purchase and HP management defending themselves by passing the buck.
I am not sure where I stand on shareholders suing the company for a drop in share price, since that is the risk you take owning shares, but since a number of execs of both companies did very well out of the merger while shareholders suffered some kind of review is needed and it looks like the HP board are too conflicted.
Hit the nail on the head....
iPads work for older people because you can set them up to just do what you want pretty simply - but expensive as you point out (and someone has to do the setting up after purchase).
The AARP approach seems to be to take a cheaper piece of kit and do the set up pre-sale. Be nice if it works - no point in giving high price/spec kit to people who are not going to need much over the basic browsing and communications.
Re: Problem with the iCloud theory
" All these celebs ignored those alerts?"
Almost certainly, yes.
As do very many people when they get a message on their smart-phone thingy because so many different things send you alerts all the time you get used to just clicking them all off. That is one of the problems - the systems are set up by (and for) relatively tech savvy people and that leaves a lot of room for less aware people to get ripped off.
In one sense, that is how Apple have been so successful - keeping a walled garden around their hard/software has removed the need for many people to get down and dirty with their devices. But it puts a lot of trust in the supplier and leaves people very unaware of what is really going on under the hood.
Re: Long passwords are easy
I just rest an older password om XXXXX and found that the "upgraded" security would not let me use anything other than alphanumeric - no special characters allowed! Since this was one of my "low risk" passwords, it is not critical, but I am glad I don't use this particular XXXXX fro anything critical.
Humans = rational?
"Macroeconomics is a pretty shit guide to the world because we humans are still pretty shit at macroeonomics"
This hits the nail on the head, because people don't always do what is 'rationale' in any given situation. As populations, we suffer from lack of complete information about the current economic situation - not just because economic indicators are published after the fact but also because our information is filtered through a number of sources who have a vested interest (governments, non-governmental groups, the media) and so we probably couldn't act 'rationally even if we wanted to. As individuals, we also don't behave 'rationally' because we value some things more than we 'should' if we were truly trying to maximize profit or growth. Bottom line, you can't equate economics with physical sciences (such as chemistry) because you cannot ascribe rivers to human behaviour with any level of reproducibility. [Unless you are are Hari Seldon]
Re: Twats 0 Football Fans who actually want to watch the match 1
I'm thinking actually that this is the real issue - tossing someone's fondleslab around like a frisbee could do some serious damage to anything it hits. A lot worse than the plastic seats that Millwall fans are fond of using.
"Of course most economists seem to be as smart as barrel of drunk monkeys. Most of the things they thought were good resulted in the 2008 crash."
Nope. It was economists who predicted that the policies being developed in the late 1990's would create the potential for a crash and the politicians who said "screw that, we will make cheap loans available to people who can't really afford them because we will get re-elected a couple more times before the crash happens". Remember this had happened before with the "Savings and Loans" (i.e. banks) crisis in the 80's.
Interestingly, there is a case to be made that the property boom years from 1998 to the crash of 2008 actually lifted more people out of poverty than fell back into poverty during the crash. If, in 1998, you were given the choice of slow growth for 10 years or fast growth followed by a crash which one would you pick? Which one gives the best overall result? Remember to add in not just the final GDP/head at the end, but how quickly that GDP/head was reached and the cumulative number of years of increased GDP/head.
Boom/bust cycles only hurt during the bust.
The responsibility of the Journal is to ensure that the research is conducted properly - that is what the review process entails. For PNAS to say "it was him" is an abrogation of their role. Looking at their statement, they say that the research was not performed under Cornell's research ethics standards - how then did they accept this paper? Every paper I have read using human subjects has included the specific reference to the relevant ethics committee approval. Did the authors lie about having this approval or did the journal editor/reviewers not ask for this?
PNAS cannot avoid their responsibility in this way.
Re: It ain't just the yokels in the UK...
That's the problem with impressions of the US in a nutshell - we've all seen Seinfeld and Friends so we (think we) know all about New York/USA etc. I moved to upstate New York to work at an ivy league university and it is another world, let alone another country
Re: Seven years is a long time in politics
"Millibean's successor in the role is currently spending time courtesy of her majesty."
Actually, he has been let out now and is making even more money screaming 'woe is me' (and, by the way, my shares in the windmill companies are doing great!).
Re: The patent
Condiment, never ever EVER read any meaning into the abstract of a patent. The only thing which matters are the claims, which are almost always restructured from the initial filing, whereas the abstract and disclosure information is not edited or changed at all. If you want to know what the patent covers, you have to read the granted claims because the vast majority of this abstract is almost certainly prior art.
Sorry, wrong kind of football, but I couldn't resist!
Re: Reality check
What we need to do - as a society - is to accept that people change. Youthful indiscretions are just that. Where we are now is the worst case where almost everything is known (or can be discovered) and is dragged out as soon as someone want to pillory you in the court of whatever passes for today's politically correct public opinion. Smoking a joint or dressing up as Hitler do not mean you are a junkie or a racist. Any system which allows deletion of all copies of a picture of you in drag at a fancy dress party (or a school play) would be abused by people with real things to hide.
Re: Maybe I'm just old-fashioned...
With regard to speeding, I think you'll find that they do exclude people with (moving) traffic violations - of course the issue is really whether you were caught or not. Under-age drinking likewise - it would depend on whether this was treated as a misdemeanor or a felony as to when (or if) it comes off your records.
The other thing with a three year limit on dope-smoking is whether that can be detected (given that you weren't caught and prosecuted). Most people applying to the FBI will probably have somewhat shorter hair, so I would think a 3-6 month limit for most men - sorry girls, you are going to be unlucky again and that's after you were charged at the hairdressers!
Repeat the survey anywhere and you will get the same kinds of "stupid people" responses. Remember that people have have very different schooling and life experiences - especially in the US where a good proportion are immigrants often from countries which have political/religious educational systems. Even in the UK, a significant number of children attend non-state schools run on religious principles and compared to the US the UK is totalitarian state with regard to educational content.
I would also caution against the "scientific facts" used in the survey as these were obviously chosen (or quoted at least) to show up a fundamentalist bias - and including the AGW question together with these makes me think this is just another attempt to paint anyone not buying into climate alarmism as a nut-case.
Just another "survey" set up to promote a cause.
Re: Soot, goo, mud--Why?
The launch pads have a trough filled with water just before launch which absorbs a great deal of the energy in the exhaust gases. The water is released into the trough just before ignition and this is the source of the big clouds of steam you see surrounding the launch pad on lift-off. If there was less water (for some reason) then the mud in the trough could have been blown up. I did not see the launch, but was there less steam than usual?
Re: Only 6 hours
Patched sites back on-line April 13 apparently.
Not sure if this is a fast or slow turnaround - anyone know how easy it is to apply the patches?
Re: Only 6 hours
6 hours later: took public facing websites off-line.
Not sure if they have got it patched and back up again, but pulling you tax-filing website off-line just a couple of weeks before the filing deadline was a very public move and how everyone in Canada learned about the bug.
I made a comment earlier that it probably took 6 hours to get permission to pull the sites off-line, but they may have set up a system to log all out-going data during this time so that they knew what had gone missing. There was discussion about this when they came out with the "900 SIN numbers hacked" story and people questioned how they knew. This doesn't clear up anything about possible data loss prior to the bug being announced however.....
Re: CRA broke the story in Canada
The National Post are following this and quote other security researchers with a similar line:
There are still a few people complaining about how long it took to "inform the public", but I think it would have taken some time to analyze the data that had collected.
CRA broke the story in Canada
The first thing anyone heard of Heartbleed in Canada was when CRA closed their portal for e-filing of tax returns along with their other portals, but since it is tax filing time people noticed this one. From there, the press picked it up and it made the broadcast news outlets.
I suspect that the six-hour window they are talking about is between the public outing of Heartbleed by Google (and whoever else) and the time it took them to shut down their portals. I can postulate that IT bods at CRA knew about their vulnerability, but could not shut down the portals without higher level approval - it is tax filing time after all. They could have set up an outward packet monitoring system as suggested above while they waited for this approval. Since SIN numbers are pretty standard (nine-digits) it would not be hard to extract these from memory dumps, even if encrypted.
I can't say that I am too worried that someone might have my SIN, however. It is used for calculating taxes, benefits etc. but nothing secure uses an SIN alone as it is not exactly a secret number. More worrying would be the user ID and password which was used to log in as this is a pretty extensively used e-pass system. This is why CRA want to contact these people - the SIN provides them with names of people who had potentially had their login credentials exposed. Getting a new login is a pain because they make a point of being secure (separate mailings of ID and one-time only password which is time-sensitive) so they have not recommended blanket re-certification.
Re: Biased at all?
Yes, but you can lift a fingerprint to fool a static fingerprint reader. Scanning readers make it much harder to do this.
I have been waiting for phones to catch up with PCs on this front for a while. It sounds like where it is placed is the issue, not the scanner per se. I don't see any reason why you can't train it with your thumb sideways (while in landscape mode) just as easily as with a finger vertically, but not actually having one to play with, this is just speculation.
I want my invisible hammock NOW
(is there a flying car graphic here?)
I am just a little worried about an eccentric orbiting red-coloured planet which passes through the Oort cloud entering our solar system. As far as I know, we haven't got our generic engineering skills up to producing telepathic, teleporting dragons yet...
Re: number 4
Or they misheard USB for UBS and (correctly) considered the Union Bank of Switzerland to be an autonomous state...
What a good thought-provoking article.
As someone who could reasonably claim to have been at the forefront of electronic communication (my first on-line presence was a CompuServe account) and can also claim that if not for this, I might not have got married (said account being the main way I kept contact with my future spouse from the other side of the world for over a year), I feel that personal communications are so well served by email that I never got into social media very much. I keep contact with my social group by individual communications as opposed to giving them all access to my day-to-day activities. Has this resulted in a loss of closeness with 'friends' I don't see very often? Not for me personally, but maybe for some people this is a big deal.
However, I never really considered Andrew's point that the very open-ness of your on-line opinions leads to conformity any more than it would when talking to people on a face-to-face basis. I know that I tone down certain opinions when with friends who don't share those opinions so perhaps this is more to do with the fact that people seem to ignore this filter when posting on-line; the vitriol from all sides in comments sections is evidence of this. Into this space I suspect there are relatively few people who take it upon themselves to patrol and police their 'neighbourhoods' - it is just that they seem to be ubiquitous simply because the rest of us put up with them.
Food for thought certainly.
But what a shame...
that Lewis had to include page 2!
I cannot think of any other topic on El Reg that the author is required to add such a disclaimer - pro-Apple or anti-Apple, Windows vs Linux, Firefox vs Opera - none of these is any bit less controversial in terms of people's opinions, but in no other subject does the honesty, impartiality and parentage of the journalist get called into question simply for reporting what other people have said.
I'll say it again, what a shame.
Don't stop Lewis, whether I agree with you or not (and it varies) you are still one of my favourite journos here on El Reg.
I actually quite like this metric as it seems to give an idea of how much a device is being used. OK, we are only talking browsing, but that is what most tablets are used for (and maybe smartphones too - I know I am the dinosaur who thinks the screen is too small, but I accept that I am outnumbered).
Even if you want to say Chitika's ads are not completely representative of the web as a whole, they will still give a good idea of trends as opposed to absolutes. And at least these are talking about use - not sales or distribution numbers which are not all they are cracked up to be.
And it provides some fun column inches (and maybe even starts an Apple/Android bun-fight to boot!)
Problem turned out to be there wasn't an eagle friendly app for one-touch uploading. I think I see an opportunity......
His brilliance was such that people take DNA sequencing methodology completely for granted now - and yet at the time it was completely revolutionary.
Re: Robots of renown
While there "may" have been more people watching Knight Rider when it was being broadcast, I'd challenge anyone to suggest it has had the legacy that K9 has. If you say K9 people know who/what you mean - try asking anyone about Kitt - I think therein lies the question of renown.
A different experience..
One of my lab technicians was rushed in to the on-site clinic with hyperventilation and a racing pulse and although the doctor could find little in the way of a bite, she was given redback AV as her leg was very swollen and tender (just below where her lab coat came to). The results were pretty impressive - with heart rate and breathing back to normal in about 5 minutes. When her leg went down, the bite mark was visible and she received a second dose later that evening when the symptoms came back.
Just anecdotal of course, but it does provide a different experience to the the paper quoted here. Perth doctors/nurses are well used to redback bites as it is our 'native' spider (and the name of a very palatable wheat beer) and there are certainly big differences with treatment of different snake and spider bites so I think it is really a case of trusting to local experience and not treating every bite the same.
Design fault - not manufacturing fault
Recalls of vehicles in production are nearly always due to a manufacturing fault, such that one in so many thousand may have a problem, but once a problem is identified, all of the thousands of vehicles are recalled to check. The battery fire issues with Tesla appears to be a design issue that the battery packs can be punctured by road debris. With hindsight, looks like it should have been anticipated, but that is why we call it hindsight!
The battery fires don't seem to be catastrophic in any way, but the potential for a more serious problem exists and they immobilize the car much more severely than similar accidents affect conventional vehicles. I suspect some kind of re-design is called for, even it is is simple as a reinforced floor panel it will have to be built into the chassis.
This is where Tesla will stand or fall as a manufacturer - does it play for the long haul and swallow the (very big) cost of a re-design or does it try to paper over the issue by saying how many are working well? As a single-product company, the danger is the company fails completely if the product fails so the temptation will be to try and bluff their way through this. I hope they don't do this and have deep enough pockets to get through the re-design process, but with so many companies being driven by share-price these days I have my doubts.
"All information leaks"
... is a truism we should all remember. And another one is that it is the cover-up which gets you caught (and put in jail).
Don't have a dog in the Sammie/Apple fight, but this is the most sensible thing i have heard come out of it so far!
Political summary before the scientific reports...
Hmmmm, not the way I would do it, but then I am only a scientist.
Don't worry - it's natural!
That makes it safe doesn't it? That's why they use it after all because if they used artificial vanillin then they would not be able to label it free from artificial flavours.....
I would not rule out stupidity - we've had demonstrations outside the Czech Republic embassy from people complaining about Chechnya and Osama bin Laden once included Norway on a list of targets - in mistake for Nigeria.
Re: Why Sync?
Because for some of us, having everything in the Cloud is not an option. I have had to get 3rd party software to keep synchronizing with my PC and I really really really miss the ease of the Palm in this respect (although they did get annoying when they changed connectors with every model as Apple seem to be doing now).
The other good point raised above was having the phone sitting next to your PC as as separate item, showing other information. Bit like a second (third - fourth even) screen.
Re: Win on Appeal?
The offense was to encourage people to lie - nothing to do with the lie-detector itself. Besides, doesn't the story say that he pled guilty? Hard to appeal that.
But isn't it better to see this project being evaluated early enough to actually DO something about the cock-up instead of blindly carrying on while the losses mount?
Far be it for me to actually do something other than carp, but this looks like maybe there have been some lessons learned from the IT clusterfucks of the past......
Re: The Nestle Kit-Kat Chocolate is far too sweet
I fully agree - Hershey chocolate is a completely different texture and I never touch it. All a matter of taste, of course, but I know someone who imports Cadbury's into North America and makes a pretty penny doing it. I can even get Nestle KitKat in some shops in Canada (at an inflated price) so there are a good few of us with the same taste!
Have you had Kvikk Lunsj from Freia (probably limited to Norway and Sweden)?
The Norwegians claim this is the original and no self-respecting Norwegian would dare go to mountains without a bar in their pack. I have to say Freia is nice chocolate and probably beats out the Nestle version. Maybe this new version of Android can be called Kvikk Lunsj in Norway?
Re: Wouldn't have happened...
Basically, the polar "ozone hole" [not actually a hole, but a thinning layer] grows and shrinks on a pretty irregular basis. If you pick your dates (and sources) you can show growing or shrinking to your heart's content. Whether us puny humans have anything to do with it is another matter altogether - CFC's destroy ozone in a lab, but their impact in the upper atmosphere has never been proven [not an easy experiment to do, surprisingly enough].
Blaming an exploding mattress on the ban on CFC's to address the ozone hole - wonderful piece of El Reg commentary!
Lenovo is more than just Thinkpad
Lenovo was a big maker of PCs before they bought the PC division of Big Blue. Basically, they kept the Thinkpad line going with very change (I still use them and can't see much difference in quality), but they have a whole hell of a lot of other kit which they have always designed(?) and built themselves.
It strikes me that the date on the original "Five Eyes" doc refer back to the time not long after they hoovered up the Thinkpad line and probably have more to do with things found in their existing lines and the paranoid spooks own imagination than anything that was actually found in the kit.
Not to say they weren't quite correct in being wary, but just because it was a big deal 7 years ago does not mean to say it is still a big deal now.
Re: A more mature approach
I agree whole-heartedly. Apple and Samsung saw their patent war as a way to attack each other instead of what the patent was actually for - a way to get a return for your investment in research.
This is what patents are used for everywhere else - cross-licensing deals abound in all mature industries. It is only in the land-grab of a new technology that people use patents as an exclusion zone.
Maybe Windows originally through they could screw Android over and get their own 'phones out, but since that was not happening, why not make some money anyway? The other side of this is that they probably do have some good IP in there (they have been doing this for a while after all - even if only by buying up other companies) and so if I am making a phone and I want their technology, a $10 bucks per unit license is not a big deal until I can invent around it (or the patent runs out).
The title is not the patent!
I do wish people would stop quoting the title of a patent and assuming that is what is covered. Of course the title and the claims as filed are horrendously broad, but what gets granted is always less than the original claims - sometimes substantially so such that the actual granted claims have little to do with the title any more (which does not get changed regardless).
I don't know what the patents at issue here have as granted claims, but I am sure that they don't cover all "Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device" just one particular implementation.
If you want to moan and whinge about patents, learn the difference between the application and the granted claims. As someone who has searched patents for a living (thankfully not any more) I have been led astray by titles too many times - take some advice and go straight for the (granted) claims
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